Grilled Pork Tacos, Pastor Flavors

Tacos al Pastor
When I want to capture some of the tacos al pastor flavor in a hurry at home, this is how I do it. It's punchier with chipotle flavor than you typically taste from Mexico's tacos al pastor specialists, but it's delicious. This recipe is from from Season 7, Mexico—One Plate at a Time
Servings: 20tacos, enough to serve 4 to 5 as a main course


  • A 3 1/2ounce packageachiote paste
  • 3canned chipotle chile en adobo, plus 4 tablespoons of the canning sauce
  • 1/4cup vegetable or olive oil, plus a little more for the onion and pineapple
  • 1 1/2pounds thin-sliced pork shoulder (1/4-inch-thick slices are ideal—the kind Mexican butchers sell for making tacos al pastor)
  • 1medium red onion, sliced 1/4- inch thick
  • Salt
  • 1/4of a medium pineapple, sliced 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 20 warm corn tortillas
  • About 1 1/2cups raw tomatillo salsa


In a blender, combine the achiote paste, chiles, canning sauce, oil and 3/4 cup water. Blend until smooth. Use 1/3 of the marinade to smear over both sides of each piece of meat (refrigerate the rest of the marinade to use on other meat or fish). Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Light a charcoal fire and let the coals burn until covered with gray ash but still very hot; bank the coals to one side and set the grill grate in place. Or, heat one side of a gas grill to high. Brush both sides of the onions slices with oil and sprinkle with salt. Lay in a single layer on the hot side of the grill. When richly browned, usually just about a minute, flip and brown the other side; move to the cool side of the grill to finish softening to grilled-onion sweetness. Oil and grill the pineapple in the same way. Finally, in batches, grill the meat: it’ll take about a minute per side as well. As the meat is done, transfer it to a cutting board and chop it up (between 1/4- and 1/2-inch pieces). Scoop into a skillet and set over the grill to keep the meat warm. Chop the onion and pineapple into small pieces as well, add them to the skillet and toss everything together. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. Serve with the tortillas and salsa for your guests to make soft tacos.


  1. This looks like a fine recipe (of course, there are many variations of this dish). But I think you missed sprinkling the tacos with finely chopped raw onion and cilantro, also adding a slice that roasted pineapple on top is a must. As is squeezing some lime juice at the very end, with the salsa. Source – A mexican living in Mexico City 😉

  2. Dear Mexican Living in Mexico City,

    I am going to Mexico City soon and was wondering where your favorite tacos Al Pastor place might be? When I was young, there was one on one of the back streets to the north of the large glorieta of the Angel of Independencia on Paseo Reforma that would open in the evenings that we would go to. They were so good. But that was 35 years ago. They probably aren’t still there.

    1. I am a Chilangs – born and raised in Mexici City. In my opinion the best tacos all pastor are in Colonia Del Valle – little taco place called ” El Chalet” in Amores st. Corner with Obrero Mundial.

    2. Google still show’s that it’s there. I’ve had many a taco there.

      El Camineros, Calle Río Lerma 138, Cuauhtémoc, 06500 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

  3. Wish I had seen this earlier!! Our favorite was always Tlaquepaque. Great street cafe/restaurant a couple of blocks west from the Plaza Alameda on a street that parallels Reforma. I dream of their alambres mixtas!

  4. Hi Rick,

    Can you please specify what size tin of Chile en Abodo, in Australia we have a big and a small tin available. I think the small tin in US measurements 3oz.

    Thanks 🙂

  5. How is such a simple recipe sooooo good, it’s really simple and tasty (made it tonight). I use pork butt and hammered it thinner, slathered in marinade and left for a couple hours. High heat on the grill and char it baby!
    The pineapple on the tacos is a MUST, don’t eat without it. And also onions, cilantro, etc…
    Seriously, stupid simple and good… Being placed into my recipe index

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *